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The Women at the Cross.

The Women at the Cross.

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Published by glennpease
BY PATON J. GLOAG, D.D,


John xix. 25.
BY PATON J. GLOAG, D.D,


John xix. 25.

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Published by: glennpease on Mar 18, 2013
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03/18/2013

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THE WOMEN AT THE CROSS.BY PATON J. GLOAG, D.D, John xix. 25.Authorised Version. — Now there stood by the cross of Jesus,His mother, and His mother's sister, Marj', the -wife of Cleophas,and Mary Magdalene.Revised Version. — But there were standing by the cross of Jesus, His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary, the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.The evangelist Luke informs us that our blessedLord, during His public ministry, was accompaniedby female disciples. Pious women belonging toGalilee became attached to His ministry and Hisperson. They followed Him when He preached theGospel in the cities and villages of the district. Thenames of these women are recorded to their eternalhonour ; and their devotedness to the Lord is held inperpetual remembrance. " And it came to pass after-ward," writes St. Luke, "that He went throughoutevery city and village, preaching and showing the58The Wome7i at the Cross. 59glad tidings of the kingdom of God ; and the twelvewere with Him, and certain women which had beenhealed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary calledMagdalene, out of whom went seven devils, andJoanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Sus-anna, and many others, which ministered unto Himof their substance" (Luke viii. 1-3). To these haveto be added Mary, the wife of Cleophas, mentionedin our passage, and Salome, the mother of James andJohn, the sons of Zebedee (Matt, .xxxvii. 55, 56;Mark xv. 40, 41). They, at least those mentioned bySt. Luke, were probably women in affluent circum-stances, and high social positions ; one of them, weare informed, was the wife of a nobleman high inoffice in the court of Herod, the tetrach of Galilee,The women who ministered to our Lord's wants inGalilee, accompanied Him on His last journey toJerusalem. They followed Him to the cross. When allHis male disciples forsook Him, they continued firmin their attachment to the close. They were doubt-less among that great company of people and of women who followed bewailing and lamenting Him,and whom our Lord addressed on His way to Calvary
 
(Luke xxiii. 27). They were present at the cruci-fixion ; " they stood by the cross of Jesus." At first,during the preparations for that awful tragedy, theywould be constrained to stand afar off (Luke xxiii. 49) ;the Roman soldiers would prevent them approach-ing ; but afterwards they would gradually drawnear, lamenting the cruel fate of Him whom they6o Exegetical Studies.regarded as their Lord and Master, the Saviour whohad come to redeem Israel.Nor were these women absent from the sepulchre.They came before all the disciples with their spicesand ointments. Before the day began to dawn, whileit was yet dark, they might be seen approaching thetomb. Nothing could detach them from their Master;even death itself could not sever the cords of theiraffection. As they followed Him when living, sothey came to anoint His body when dead ; for theywere the same women who ministered to His wants inGalilee, who were present at the cross and the sepulchre.I. The first of these pious women, mentioned asstanding by the cross of Jesus is His mother, theBlessed Virgin : 97 MTnp avrov. This circumstance isonly mentioned by St. John ; St. Matthew and St.Mark mention the other women by name, but theyare silent as to the presence of the Virgin. Probablyshe stood apart from the rest, not belonging to thegroup, attended by the beloved disciple. It is pro-bable also that she was not present at the time alludedto by the other evangelists, as she would have beenearly withdrawn by St. John from so terrible asight. Mary was present at the crucifixion ; but whowill attempt to describe her agony of soul? Theancient painters represent her as veiled at the cross,as hers was a sorrow too sacred and too awful tolook upon. She saw her Son, that Son who hadbeen promised by an angel, and miraculously born ;that Son whom she had brought up, and who hadThe Women at the Cross. 6 1remained with her for thirty years ; that Son whohad performed such wonderful and beneficent works,cured the diseased, cleansed the lepers, and raisedthe dead ; that Son whom she loved as a mother andadored as her Saviour ; that Son who had collectedaround Him all the best spirits of the nation, andwhom a few days before Israel seemed ready toacknowledge as their king, fallen a prey to Hisenemies, nailed to the cross, and dying a malefactor's
 
death. Then would the words of old Simeon berecalled, for they now received their fulfilment, "Yeaa sword shall pierce through thine own soul also."Jesus comforts the sorrowful woman ; in the midst of His cruel agony He addresses her from the cross, andcommends her to the care of His dearest friend(John xix. 26, 27).We may, perhaps, in the course of this expositionfind a natural reason why Jesus intrusted John withthe care of His mother, but spiritual reasons areobvious enough. " It presupposes," as Meyer observes," the certainty in His mind that generally to no otherhand could this dear legacy be so well intrusted."And what a blessed provision was thus made forboth ! The two dearest friends of Jesus, the twowho entered most deeply into His heart of hearts,were now associated in spiritual relationship, couldnow communicate their holy thoughts to each other,converse about Him whom they so ardentlyloved and adored ; and just because at the crossthey suffered the most deeply, so they could enter62 Exegetical Studies.the more keenly into each other's feelings. This,with the exception of a casual allusion in the Acts(i. 14), is the last mention which we have in Scriptureof the blessed Virgin. We are not informed whetherour Lord manifested Himself to her after His resur-rection, or whether she was present at the ascension.Had the gospels been mere fictitious narratives,written for the sake of sensation, such circumstanceswould have been detailed at length ; their silenceon these points is a proof of genuineness. Accordingto one tradition, John would not leave Jerusalemuntil after the death of Mary ; according to another,she accompanied the apostle to Ephesus, where shedied in extreme old age. By some it was believedthat she was buried at Gethsemane, and by others atEphesus.IL The second woman mentioned is the sister of the Virgin : 97 dBeX^rj ti]<; /jbr}Tpo<i avrov. It is gene-rally supposed that only three women are mentioned asstanding by the cross — the Virgin, her sister, and MaryMagdalene ; and that the sister of our Lord's motheris further designated as " Mary, the wife of Cleophas."This, however, has lately been called in question.It is affirmed that four women are here mentioned,named in pairs ; the first pair being our Lord'smother and her sister, whose name, for a reasonafterwards to be assigned, is not here stated, andthe second pair being the two Marys — Mary, thewife of Cleophas and Mary Magdalene. On thissupposition the sister of our Lord's mother and

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